cities across the world, established urban environments are being
transformed according to the dictates of capital. Gentrification is
destroying the social fabric of working-class and racialized districts,
displacing long-standing residents in order to make way for a new class
of upwardly-mobile, and often white professionals – who often view the
rich local histories of the spaces they move into as nothing more than
kitschy branding appeal. The culture clash that emerges between
established community members and these new arrivals is often viewed as
the front-line of struggles around gentrification; a quarrel between
patrons of a locally-owned roti shop, and those of a new craft beer pub;
or a battle between NIMBY condo-dwellers and the beneficiaries of a
local social service agency.
But while this tension is certainly real, it is only the tip of the
iceberg. Gentrification is a systematic process, facilitated by state,
regional and local governments and bankrolled by massive financial
institutions managing multi-billion dollar portfolios. It is class war
playing out in physical space, with all the complexities and
contradictions that entails.
In this month's episode of Trouble, the first in a two-part series,
sub.Media examines gentrification as a process of capitalist urban
development, by taking a closer look at how it is playing out in three
mega-cities: Toronto, New Orleans and Istanbul.
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